delware environmental institute

NSF Career Award: Geomicrobiologist receives prestigious NSF award for work on iron-microbe interactions

NSF Career Award:  Geomicrobiologist receives prestigious NSF award for work on iron-microbe interactions

Patches of orange slime with an oily sheen are not uncommon to see along stream banks, often mistaken for pollution or decomposing leaves. In fact, the substance is made by metal-eating bacteria that create oxidized iron, or rust, naturally in the environment.

University of Delaware geomicrobiologist Clara Chan studies the role of these rust-producing bacteria in water flowing both above and below ground, and she recently received a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand her research.

“Microbial iron cycling is important to understanding the chemistry of our waters,” said Chan, assistant professor of geological sciences in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).